The Professor taught us all a lesson


city_scope_logo-cmykThe latest edition of City Scope was mapped out and ready to put on the page Friday afternoon when this corner received a message, via Facebook, from long-time friend Joe Docherty alerting me to the death Thursday of Ed McLachlan, or the Professor as he was better known.
Hearing the sombre news, I could think of no better tribute to a fellow Scot (he from Dundee and myself a southerner from Edinburgh) than to scrap what I had written and begin anew.
While I was quite at home with the honourable Sensei’s dojo family, who could be found out back in his converted garage, Ed also left his indelible stamp on this city through his tireless work as a member of the St. Thomas Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee.
For anyone who thought Ed was passionate about the martial arts, he was downright feisty when it came to matters of accessibility.

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FTE numbers a ‘slippery slope downward’ at STEGH


city_scope_logo-cmykThey were initially announced two weeks ago and after badgering by the Times-Journal, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital administration is finally being a little more upfront on the extent of measures needed to overcome a $1 million budget shortfall for 2016/17.
Early in February it was announced as many as four full-time jobs could be cut but as many as 11 positions could be impacted through early retirement and attrition.
Hospital president and CEO Paul Collins stressed at the time the job losses won’t directly affect patient care.
How is that possible? Everything the hospital does revolves around patient care. What else is it in business for?
After all, STEGH’s mission statement promises “To deliver an excellent patient care experience . . .”
Notably absent from early discussions with the hospital was any mention of closing the outpatient lab and reducing its gastric diagnostic imaging services from four days a week to two, resulting in reduced part-time hours for medical radiology technologists.
That only surfaced when T-J reporter Jennifer Bieman — acting on information provided by an OPSEU representative — pressed hospital administration for further details on the cutbacks.
That’s the front-page story in  the Feb. 20 edition of the T-J.

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Will council give green light to Sutherland Press building demolition?


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Entitled ‘Demolition of an Unsafe Building,’ a report to mayor and council Tuesday from Chris Peck, chief building official, would appear to clearly indicate the city has had enough dealings with the owner of the Sutherland Press building.
Peck is asking council to approve a tender submitted by Schouten Excavating of Watford, Ont., in the amount of $101,135 for demolition of what remains of the four-storey structure owned by David McGee of Toronto.
To recap recent history, on Sept, 16 of last year the city posted an emergency order on the building following a partial roof collapse at the southwest corner of the structure at Moore Street.

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STEGH job cuts revive that old two-step episode


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A week of mixed blessings over at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. On Tuesday, Times-Journal reporter Jennifer Bieman wrote at length on its new role as a District Stroke Centre.
But it comes at a price as the facility will be reducing the number of registered nurses in the Continuing Care Centre by up to three but hiring more registered practical nurses and personal support workers to staff the unit.
At week’s end, we hear of more cuts at STEGH in order to meet a $1 million shortfall in their operating budget for 2016.
That can only mean more cuts, according to CEO Paul Collins. In this case up to another four staffers, although administrators are staying tight lipped at this point as to which departments will be impacted.

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